20 Great Moments of 2013

2013 was the year I found apart of myself. I found love, laughter, happiness, and heartbreak, all in 365 days. According to Facebook I’ve only had 20 great moments worth remembering. I thought I would share what these moments were.

  1. I had silly adventures finding organic lady apples, hanging out with a guy and his bird, and walking up Bay Shore.Lady Apples
  2. Celebrated my mother turning another year wiser.Happy Bday mom
  3. My bestie didn’t want to be a ride or die chick, instead she wanted to be a go to work and call you later chick 😉Ride or Die
  4. In mid-February I displayed random positive thoughts out into the universeFind Joy
  5. Lauren C.Late March Lauren C came home and we partied like adults and not college girls at MacDinton’s Irish Pub…lol
  6. Early April Lisa and I took on the Pilipino Festival. Tired some traditional food, watched some beautiful performances, and bought a few keepsakes.PhilFest
  7. Lil ReggieSpent some time with my face man (Little Reggie)
  8. Attending my pre-graduation event.Pre-Graduation
  9. 2013 GraduationAnd in May although I had already received my AA Diploma, I still walked the stage.
  10. Thanks Family and Friends for their supportGraduation
  11. final gradesGot final grades in, which were all B’s
  12. Attending Lauren E’s graduation and met the family.lauren E Grad
  13. In June I started interning at Creative Loafing.
  14. 28I celebrated turning 28 with friends, drinks, a new tattoo, and brunch… I also fell in love
  15. Went on a tour of The Ledger Media Group.ledger
  16. coverMade the Cover of Creative Loafing
  17. In October I became a part of the walking dead and attacked my mother.zombie
  18. Had my heartbroken and spent 2-3 weeks being very EMO
  19. nutcracker twistFinally saw the Chocolate Nutcracker, now known at The Nutcracker Twist
  20. And Christmas Eve got a quick class on making a ring, attending a festive Holiday Party, and attending Art After Dark.ring

At the end of each year many of us seem to reflect on what was and what to do next. I, like many others do the same thing. I try hard not to focus on the friendships that were lost, the heartbreak that was felt and the nights of sleep I missed due to stressing over things I have no control over whatsoever. Life is an ever growing and changing internal process. All we can do is strive to do and be better. Fight for the dreams we have and prove to ourselves that we are worth more than what we may think. Stop allowing others to treat you like you are dispensable, YOU AREN’T. Value you, the person you are and align yourself with positive people who are doing positive things.

So what did I take from this year? Mostly that I have a great inner circle of friends. That the things or people we want aren’t always what we need. As I end this chapter on 2013’s 365-days I resolve to take things day by day, to not allow the little things get under my skin, and to release the negative things and people as so that I don’t carry that into the following year.

Happy New Year’s All.

Four Reasons Why Losing Hurts So Much

“Let’s talk about why we tend to react badly to losses. Think of some of the losses in your life and how they made you feel. Not good. And it’s not just the pain of the moment that affects us. Our losses also cause us other difficulties. Here are just a few:

1. Losses Cause Us to Be Mentally Defeated

Life is a succession of losses, beginning in childhood. We lose the warmth and comfort of the womb that nurtured us for the first nine months of our existence. We lose our favorite toys. We lose the privilege of pursuing the irresponsible pleasures of youth as adults, we lose jobs and positions. Our self-esteem may take a beating. We lose money. We miss opportunities. Friends and family die. And I don’t even want to talk about some of the physical losses we experience with advancing age! We lose all these things and more, until we finally face the final loss—that of life itself. It cannot be denied that our lives are filled with loss. Some losses are great; some are small. And the losses we face affect our mental health. Some people handle it well, while others don’t.

The quality that distinguishes a successful person from an unsuccessful one who is otherwise like him is the capacity to manage disappointment and loss. This is a challenge because losses can often defeat us mentally. I know I’ve had to fight that battle. When that happens, our thinking becomes like that of Harry Neale, the coach of the Vancouver Canucks in the 1980s. He said, “Last year we couldn’t win on the road and this year we can’t win at home. I don’t know where else to play!”

Too often losing goes to our heads. It defeats us, and we have trouble coming up with solutions to our challenges. As the losses build up, they become more of a burden. We regret the losses of yesterday. We fear the losses of tomorrow. Regret saps our energy. We can’t build on regret. Fear for the future distracts us and fills us with apprehension.

2. Losses Create a Gap between I Should and I Did

Winning creates a positive cycle in our lives. When we win, we gain confidence. The more confidence we have, the more likely we are to take action when it’s needed. That inclination to move from knowing to acting often brings success.

However, losing can also create a cycle in our lives—a negative one. Losses, especially when they pile up, can lead to insecurity. When we are insecure, we doubt ourselves. It causes us to hesitate when making decisions. Even if we know what we should do, we are reluctant to do it. When such a gap is created and isn’t overcome, success becomes nearly impossible.

3. The First Loss Often Isn’t the Biggest Loss

When we experience a loss, we have a choice. If we immediately respond to it the right way, the loss becomes smaller to us. However if we respond the wrong way, or we fail to respond at all, that loss becomes greater. And it often leads to other losses. As the subsequent losses come at us, they seem to be bigger and bigger, crashing over us like waves in a violent storm. As the number of losses goes up, our self-confidence goes down.

Yoga teacher and writer Kripalvananda said, “My beloved child, break your heart no longer. Each time you judge yourself, you break your own heart.” I believe that in times of loss, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking about how we could have or should have done things differently. Our self-talk can become very negative. The more negative it becomes, the larger our losses appear to be to us. If our self-talk is angry, destructive, or guilt producing, we become even less capable of breaking free of the negative cycle.

4. Losses Never Leave Us the Same

Coaches of sports teams live in a world of wins and losses. Legendary football coach Knute Rockne quipped, “One loss is good for the soul. Too many losses are not good for the coach.” And longtime major league manager Paul Richards said, “If you can say the morale of your club is good after losing ten out of twelve games, then your intelligence is a little low.” But you don’t have to be a coach or play on a sports team to feel the impact of a loss.

The number or severity of your losses isn’t as important as how you experience those losses. Yes, all losses hurt. And they make an impact on us, an impact that is rarely positive. Losses change us. But we must not allow them to control us. We can’t let the fear of looking silly or incompetent paralyze us. We can’t let the fear of negative consequences keep us from taking risks. Allowing negative experiences of the past to warp your future is like living in a coffin. It puts a lid on you and can end your life.

How does one minimize the negative damage of debilitating losses? First, by letting them go emotionally. In 1995 when Jerry Stackhouse was a rookie with the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, he was asked about his take on life now that he was playing professional basketball. His answer: “Win and forget. Lose and forget.” If we want to overcome adversity and keep from being defeated by our losses, we need to get past them. And then we need to learn from them!

What losses are you allowing to get you “stuck”? List some ways you can change your perspective and learn from them.

Life may contain a succession of losses, but it doesn’t have to be defined by them. Learning is what makes the difference!”–John Maxwell

Summer Internship (Did you make it count?)!!

My 1st cover for my 1st internship

My 1st cover for my 1st internship

One of my goals for my 2013 bucket list was to be able to intern at the incredible Creative Loafing –Tampa. Well, that’s one thing I can proudly mark off my list. It, by no means, was what you might expect. There was no filing, answering of phones, or errands to be run. Instead we were allowed to have free reign in creating our very own issue to be submitted to the world. I personally feel like we took this challenge head on and came out with something we can fully stand behind.
Many people take on internship to figure out how things may fit into the bigger picture as far as finance, culture, lifestyle, and technical experience. During this summer process many of us were able to find out if writing for a publication like Creative Loafing was indeed a choice we wanted to make. For myself, I was able to answer some major questions that have been screaming in the back of my mind.
1. Am I on the right path?
2. Can I live the rest of my life not doing what I love?
3. Do I have what it takes to write not only the fluff stories but the hard news as well?
Luckily for me I didn’t really have to worry about fluff or hard news, but I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough. Working with the other interns for the most part was a breeze. It was easy to communicate with them by e-mail, Facebook group or by text since I wasn’t able to attend many of the meetings due to my normal work schedule.

Watching the Magic Happen

Watching the Magic Happen

Over the summer I found it helpful to keep a journal to document the roller coaster ride of thoughts as tasks were assigned and completed.(It’s also good practice to do this for the portfolio I will have to submit at the end of Fall.)
I started with a general explanation of projects/task which included what I may have done, learned, and took from the work that was done or meetings I attended.
I also had a reflection entry toward the end that outlined particular tasks, how they made me feel and whether or not I really enjoyed what I was doing.
Although my official internship doesn’t start until the Fall, I was glad that I was able to help out over the Summer and get an idea for what it will be like over the Fall. I also found some great apps/tools that were helpful in keeping me organized and ahead of the curve. Here are a few that you can try if you’re interested:
Get Organized
1. Evernote-Evernote is a great way to remember all those important ideas (and instructions!) you can’t afford to forget. Stay on top of your internship duties with notes, snapshots, and recorded voice reminders.
Cost: FREE
2. Remember the Milk -Organize and prioritize your internship tasks with Remember the Milk—or, in your case, Remember the 1,000 Things You Need To Do Before Wednesday. You can set due dates, add notes, postpone or repeat tasks, and even print relevant checklists.
Cost: FREE
Stay Awake
3. Coffee Finder (for those who love their coffee)-Those early office mornings really require a lot of caffeine. Lucky for you, this app will help you find the nearest Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Peet’s Coffee, Seattle’s Best, Au Bon Pain, and more. Almost makes that office coffee run sound like fun, right?
Cost: FREE
Stay Sharp
4. Dictionary.com-Searching for that perfect word to complete your email? Need help deciphering your boss’s crazy language? This app has both a dictionary and thesaurus (as well as useful features like audio pronunciations) to help you smooth talk your way to success.
Cost: FREE

Group Tour-Seeing our baby come to life

Group Tour-Seeing our baby come to life

5. TED Talks-Need a little inspiration to do your best work? The TED app features over 1,000 talks and presentations from some of the world’s most interesting and insightful people.
Cost: FREE
Track the Trends
6. Flipboard -Successful interns know their industry and Flipboard makes it easy to stay up-to-date on all the latest news. Create a personalized magazine based on your favorite topics and publications (plus your Facebook, Twitter, and RSS Feeds).
Cost: FREE
Be a Team Player
7. Dropbox-Dropbox is an awesome tool for collaboration. Use this app to back up your docs, files, videos, and photos, then easily share them with your whole team. Plus, you can access all your files from basically any device that’s connected to the internet.
Cost: FREE
Manage Your Money
8. Mint.com-You’re probably not making much money as an intern, but you want to keep a close eye on the cash you do have! Mint.com lets you track and monitor all bank account transactions, gives you an analysis of your spending habits, and even alerts you if your balance is too low.
Cost: FREE
Calm Down or Rock Out
9. Pandora Radio-After a long day, you might need to shake off some pent up frustration (internships aren’t always the easiest!) or celebrate a success. No matter what mood you’re in, Pandora has the perfect station to listen to old favorites or discover new tunes.
Cost: FREE

Summer Loving (Long-Distance Relationships)

Image“Summer lovin’ had me a blast – summer lovin’ happened so fast – met some girl, crazy for me – met a guy, cute as can be – summer days drifted away – to oh, the summer nights”

Seriously who doesn’t love that song?

Officially summer is almost over, and the fall term will be starting in 26 days. For some it’s the ending of a beautiful romance filled with hot sandy days at the beach and long nights wrapped in your lover’s arms. Others, however, will try and go the extra mile and make their long-distance tryst into something more.

So here is the question; can long distance relationships really work?

I’m always amazed at the few people I know who tend to make things work. Personally I need a little face to face time with my beau. There is always so much to account for when distance is an issue:

  • Communication Breakdowns (Thanks to technology this has become easier to handle)
  • Future Unseen (If you aren’t moving in the same direction even if you have separate paths… you clearly aren’t going to be meeting at the same train station)
  • Trust (Relationships end everyday due to trust issues whether it’s perceived or real. Any healthy partnership requires devotion, ethical grounding, and a moral compass)
  • Return vs. Time (Are you getting a return on the time you’re putting in calling, e-mailing, texting, and traveling to make things work?)
  • Expectations (What you want, what they want, what we want as a couple…. Be on the same page)

There is nothing in life that doesn’t require work. This always includes going the extra mile for a relationship that you feel is worth it. If just the thought of the few things I mentioned here is enough to send you running for the hills…… Maybe you should ask yourself what in life is worth your hard work and dedication?

Thought on paper (so to speak)

Image

Sometimes you have to write to hear yourself express the things you can’t say aloud. This summer has been filled with disappointments and surprising turns.  Starting off my year of officially 28 has been a beautiful struggle to say the least.

The year is now more than half way over and as I look back at my bucket list for 2013 I don’t think I have fulfilled any of the things I wanted to do. Wait I take that back, I did land an internship at the amazing Creative Loafing Publication in Tampa.

That in its self is a blessing! (Interns Issue coming August 1)

I didn’t get my all girls trip to Miami for my birthday; however some friends went above and beyond to make sure my birthday gone wrong with slightly right…..

But there is this nagging feeling that I can’t seem to get rid of.  Maybe the things on my list were a little outlandish for all the things I need to get done in my day to day life.  So I need to refresh my 2013 bucket list

1) Visit the corn mazes in the fall ( Sweetfields Farms in Masaryktown, FL)
2) Milk a cow
3) Sit on a round hay stack (Don’t ask why, I just want to)
4) Take a Photography Class
5) Land an internship at Creative Loafing publication………………….. (DONE)
6) Dance in the rain
7) Walk all the way up Bay Shore from Ballast Point Park
8) Send a message in a bottle
9) Send an amazing care package to my friend in Korea

Almost 30 but not Quiet!! (Happy 28th Birthday to Me)

Almost 2 but not Quiet

Almost 2 but not Quiet

Turning 28 is just another reminder of how close I am to turning 30. In my teens I use to revel in the thought of my birthday coming; homemade funfetti birthday cakes, old fashioned bar-b-q and family and friends.

 In my twenties it feels more like the impending doom to a dawn I do not long to see. There is this rush to achieve all the goals that I have set for myself before my third decade arrives. Looking back I was convinced that by this age I would be married to actor Lee Thompson Young (Rizzoli & Isles on TNT), finished with school, and happily set in my career as a writer- living peacefully.

But the road to success seemed ever so long, at least that’s what I thought until I read Joshua Fields Millburns observations and insights in his essay “30 Life Lessons from 30 Years

“Success is perspectival. I used to think I was successful because I had a six-figure job that my friends and family could be proud of. I thought the house with too many bedrooms would make me look even more successful, and so would the luxury car and the tailored suits and the nice watch and the big screen TV and all of the trappings of the material world. But I got all of that and I sure as hell didn’t feel successful. Instead, I felt depressed. So what did I do? I bought more stuff. And when that didn’t work I figured out that I had to do something else with my life, that I had to stop living a lie and start living my dreams.”

Lesson here is you definitely can’t judge a book from its cover…

How I Spent 28

How I Spent 28

So I guess there is no point to get upset and feel stressed out about the things I don’t have or haven’t accomplished yet. The key word here is YET, because in real life the amazing things are bound to happen can’t really be planned…They just happen.

28 isn’t exactly the “success” that I planned/imagined, but I’m well on my way and it’s worth celebrating.

 

  

Relaxed to Natural in 12 months

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The Transition

In June 2012, I went natural. There are two ways to go natural: the Big Chop (B.C.) and transitioning from relaxed to natural hair.

At first I chose to allow my hair to grow out while clipping the relaxer out gradually. This meant every few weeks I was still going to the salon and getting a rod set which has the effect of blending the natural and relaxed hair together. However I did get to a point where this was not working at all. So I had to take the more dramatic route: the B.C.

I once again went to see my beautiful beautician, Ms. Eleth, and she chopped it all off for me. Some would argue that this is a freeing experience, but I had never had my hair so short in my life and wanted to scream. After letting my Drama Queen moment pass, I took pictures to document the beginning of my journey. The Big Chop is definitely a bold decision, but it gives you a new confidence, and looks very fierce. Add some color to your new style and some dashing large earrings and you are good to go. 

12 months- Natural Movment

12 months- Natural Movment

Caring for Natural Hair

Natural hair is beautiful, so take care of your crown. Here are a few natural hair tips: Wash, Moisturize, Oil. Your hair is an extension of your body, and needs as much care as any other part of you does. I’ve heard that keeping natural hair moisturized can be a struggle, but I have been extremely lucky not to have those issues. I deep condition my hair once a week with either coconut oil or Vatika (Indian Market), then I wash with Cocoa Curls. Some people also take vitamins to help speed up hair growth and give you healthy hair such as Keratin, Biotin, and Fish Oil. I personally use Biotin and Fish Oil and it’s been a great help with not only my hair, but skin and nails as well. Also I absolutely love using oils like tea tree and Jamaican Black Castor Oil to keep my hair looking radiant and my scalp well-conditioned.

Hairstyles for Natural Hair

Although I love trying out different hair styles, I really love anything that will allow me to shake and go. With that being said I’m a BIG fan of any kind of twist outs, banana clips and rocking my fro as is.  Of course there is tons of information on the web about black natural hair styles that can fit every